Mon 30 Jun
In some respects, I think Muxtape, the popular site for creating so-called “MP3 mixtapes” is a triumph. Ostensibly a tool for creating personal playlists from nominally legal music tracks, it is in actuality very much a piece of social software. Except that the traditional trappings of social software — buddy lists, presence management, intra-membership messaging, etc. — are almost entirely missing. In a sense, it’s a kind of anti-Facebook, and in that functional asceticism, it’s really kind of a marvel.
On the other hand, minimalism has its drawbacks as well as its advantages. To be sure there’s real beauty to Muxtape’s enormous and simple music playback interface — its single-tasking posture may yet turn out to be as iconic as the original Google home page — but it’s also frustrating.
There are two things that I want to do with Muxtape, and that I can’t. The first is browsing other Muxtapes without interrupting the playback of the songs I’m listening to at any given moment. That’s easily enough solved by opening up Muxtape.com in a second browser tab or window, but I find that solution to be pretty clumsy.
The second limitation that frustrates me is not so easily resolved: anyone who’s invested time, energy and personal feeling into compiling a mixtape (read: everyone) is going to have something additional to say about the sequencing, the lyrics, the music, the origin album, etc. For better or worse, a lot of those people will want to write that commentary down, and have it accompany the track listing. Muxtape doesn’t let you annotate your track listings. Which is why I’m listing the tracks from my Muxtape here, where I can annotate as much or as little as I want.
Have a listen over at Subtraction.muxtape.com, and since there’s no commenting functionality over at Muxtape.com either, let me know what you think in the comments below.
|01||Johnny Foreigner||“Suicide Pact, Yeh?”|
|“It’s not like I stood here wishing you were dead. I just want you to succeed at something you want to succeed at.” Disturbingly happy.|
|02||Moto Boy||“Young Love (Short Version)”|
|Precious melancholia from the excellent Swedish lable Songs I Wish I Had Written.|
|03||McLusky||“Alan Is a Cowboy Killer”|
|Retro-nineties, through the lens of the early 2000s.|
|04||Annuals||“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”|
|An echo-laden, modern rendition of the spiritual standard that beautifully, dissonantly honest.|
|05||My Teenage Stride||“Heartless & Cruel”|
|Catchy, anthemic pop with a not insubstantial debt to The Smiths.|
|06||Lil’ Lavair & The Fabulous Jades||“Cold Heat”|
|A thrill of a funk number from a nearly forgotten Californian act, included on the essential, eponymous compilation from Now-Again Records.|
|07||Jeremy Jay||“Hold Me in Your Arms Tonight”|
|From one of my favorite records of the year so far.|
|08||Lou Reed||“Crazy Feeling”|
|Irresistible opening track to the indispensable “Coney Island Baby.”|
|09||Talking Heads||“Houses in Motion”|
|From the hey day. Just because they’ve had the good taste not to cash in on a reunion tour doesn’t mean this band doesn’t deserve a revival.|
|10||Lizzy Mercier Descloux||“No Golden Throat”|
|Criminally overlooked No Wave artist.|
|11||Lykke Li||“Dance Dance Dance”|
|If you make it all the way to the end of this mix, you can think of this sugary treat, from an up and coming Swedish chanteuse, as the payoff. Totally worth it.|